Two days. Two wins. Two hundred points. Lara Gut is closed out the World Cup speed season in Lenzerheide much like she kicked it off in Beaver Creek.
Under sunny skies and on home snow Thursday, the swiss racer earned her first career crystal globe. It comes in the discipline of super G in which Gut won four World Cup races this winter. Gut finished with a winning margin of 0.61 seconds over the day’s runner-up Anna Fenninger, while Tina Maze finished in third, 0.95 seconds back.
“I was a bit nervous this morning when I got up, thinking about me being in the lead and that I could also loose everything today,” said Gut. “Later in the morning I realized I just had to think about skiing and ski like yesterday. In start gate I was only thinking about the way I had to ski and it felt easy.”
Much of the suspense had been removed from the overall title race with the departure of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the leader heading into these Finals, as the result of a crash and shoulder injury in the downhill on Wednesday. In the process, Hoefl-Riesch relinquished the lead to Austrian Anna Fenninger, who effectively locked up the title with her second-place result Thursday.
“It’s amazing for me. I am really full of emotions right now,” said Fenninger about winning the overall season title. “I am shocked. It is the biggest things I can win in my career, it’s unbelievable.”
It was a demanding super G course, shared by the men earlier in the day. Several racers were caught off guard and were forced to make split-second adjustments to stay in the game. The podium finishers, Gut, Fenninger and Maze, who ran in succession in the late teens, were simply able to navigate better up top to stay light on their edges and carry speed through the lower flats. Of the top three, Fenninger — the Olympic gold medalist in super G but without a World Cup win in the discipline this season — made the most glaring mistake, getting quite late and throwing away some speed on the upper part of the course. She hung tight to crush the midsection and glide to a strong finish.
Only the top-25 racers per discipline are invited to race at the World Cup Finals. Hence, the Americans were represented by Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Leanne Smith. They skied to 10th, 11th and 14th, respectively, among just 15 total finishers.
“I just made it down,” said Mancuso. “I’m definitely ready for next year and it was fun racing and (I’m) happy to have my last World Cup race of the season. … I’m psyched about the Olympics, that’s pretty much it.”
Mancuso is expected to race in the team event Friday but not the GS. She will certainly look back on her Olympic bronze medal in the super combined as the highlight of her season.
Smith will also be happy to put this season behind her. After picking up a couple podiums a season ago, the New Hampshire native has failed to finish within World Cup points since Lake Louise. She skied an aggressive line on Thursday, but found herself hard on the edges in crucial parts of the course. The World Cup season also comes to a close for Stacey Cook who had glimmers of brilliance this winter — a couple top-fives at Cortina — but fell short of her season goals in downhill, particularly in Sochi. It was, however, Cook’s best career super G season and the first time she’s qualified for World Cup Finals in the event. She made a critical error Thursday — she wasn’t the only one to do it — nearly cutting off the delay and needing to readjust to stay in the course.
See more photos from this race in our gallery here.
By Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup super G, Lenzerheide, Switzerland March 13, 2014
Equipment – skis/boots/bindings
1 Gut, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Schmidhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
9 Kling, Head/Head/Head
10 Mancuso, Head/Head/Head
Women’s World Cup super G, Lenzerheide, Switzerland March 13, 2014. … It is the 30th race of the women’s schedule with two remaining. … It is the sixth of six super G’s. … It is the fourth race, second for women, of World Cup Finals where the fields are limited and points awarded to best 15 only. … It is the 38th World Cup race hosted by Lenzerheide and the eighth super G.
It is the tenth career World Cup win for Lara Gut… her sixth in super G. … It is her seventh win of the season and fourth in super G. … It is her second win in two races at World Cup Finals. … She is just the third Swiss to win a World Cup race at Lenzerheide, and the first to win two.
It is the 27th career World Cup podium for Anna Fenninger… her 10th of the season. … She also recorded two Olympic podiums this season. … It is her 13th career World Cup SG podium.
It is the 13th World Cup super G podium for Tina Maze. … It is the eighth podium of the season for Maze, including two Olympic medals.
It is the 132nd World Cup top 10 for Julia Mancuso and the second day in a row she has finished in tenth. … It is her tenth top 10 at Lenzerheide. … It is the second best of four results at Lenzerheide for Stacey Cook. … It is a career best result at Lenzerheide for Leanne Smith.
Anna Fenninger extends her lead of the World Cup overall standings 1271-1180 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (did not race due to injury). … Lara Gut is third with 1056pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is sixth with 773pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF in race) is 11th overall with 479pts.
Gut wins the super G title 448-357 over Fenninger. … Tina Weirather (did not race due to injury) is third overall with 310pts. … Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso lead the U.S. tied in 15th with 104pts each. … Gagnon leads Canada in super G in 19th with 66pts.
Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 5564-3012 over Switzerland. … Sweden in third with 2446pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 1739pts and Canada 11th with 768pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|5||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|